Posted by: K'aslem Mandala | September 13, 2010


Landslides poured through San Antonio

Women drawing water from the polluted lake

More landslides to come for a village with few resources

KASLEM MANDALA and Humanitarian Aid.Saturday, Sept 4, 2010. Deforested mountainsides came crashing down on San Antonio once again, three months after the landslides of Agatha tore through this tiny village. There were fewer immediate deaths in a village still stunned by that tragedy, devastated and exhausted emotionally and economically.

Just a few days earlier Kaslem Team and Reforestation for Education had led 200 school children and youth of  Escuela 15 de Septiember in planting trees to prevent the relentless crumbling of the mountains that threaten their lives tomorrow and in the years to come.

Kaslem Team returned to San Antonio on Sept 7 to try to reach the school where they had started an in-depth program teaching 500 school children to plant and protect the trees that provide root systems to hold the mountain together. Getting up to the school was impossible. It was also impossible for the sparse amounts of food arriving by boat to get up the mountain. A couple days later, the principal of the school made the heart wrenching statement that 375 children, mothers and fathers sheltering in the school had no food or water. Kaslem Mission is to teach young people how to prevent disasters like this.  A long term solution addressing the Root Cause – literally. Kaslem has no resources for providing humanitarian aid.

All we can do is try to contact people bringing in aid and plead that they connect with the school up the hill. Mayan Families is one of those organizations. We are also looking for water filters to place in the school as fast as possible. I remember the black water that poured from our kitchen tap in Panajachel and think of the women drawing water from the lake polluted by broken septic systems – and think of Pakistan and Haitian refugees still living in tented refugee camps. Where are the resources to provide for the needs of a tiny village on Lake Atitlan?

Kaslem Mandala is working for the future, providing green jobs and environmental education for young adults who will soon have the power to make decisions that safeguard their communities. The lake is rising. The mountains are relentlessly crashing down. The future is in the hands of a generation of environmentally aware Children and Youth.


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